Privacy is an illusion and social media is a killer-- that is the premise in Douglas Wood's new novel Dark Data. He joined Richard Syrett in the first half to share the dangers of the Internet and a warning of the near-future, where a dystopian reality may be just one click, share, tweet, or like away. In his fictional plotline, an alliance between a Russian oligarch, an Islamic radical terrorist, and a Black Hat hacker wreaks havoc on the financial and social order, as hapless Internet users are controlled. But Wood believes his "techno-thriller" story isn't so far fetched. We've all become "digiholics," addicted to the Internet and social media, he said, and we're not cognizant of how our data is being mined. Residing "in the cloud," he contends that this "Big Data" –-composed of the things we click on, search, and buy, what we think and eat, what others say about us, and the locations of where we go-- contribute to sophisticated algorithms that can map individual's minds, and discern their "digital DNA."
With enough data points, he continued, the ability to predict and influence behavior would be present at a minimum. In his book, he goes beyond this into a scenario in which Internet users' actions are controlled, and then after performing specified activities, they can be effectively "deleted" from the system. He also expressed concerns over the unregulated advance of AI and its possible weaponization, how the move toward driverless cars could take our free will away, and the beginning of social credit scores in which people may be denied services if they don't pass muster.
Commissioners from a fire district located near Queens, New York unanimously passed an historic resolution on July 24 that calls for a new investigation into all aspects of 9/11 and cites evidence that explosives were planted in all three towers prior to 9/11. In the latter half, James Corbett, who runs the Corbett Report, as an independent critical analysis of politics, society, and economics, discussed what this investigation may uncover along with the recent release of a groundbreaking Building 7 study which says fires could not have caused the total collapse of that building. In Corbett's documentary, 9/11 Whistleblowers, he interviews various people who refute the government's official explanation of the attacks. One of those individuals was Kevin Ryan, a site manager at Environmental Health Laboratories in 2001, who subsequently began to question the "pancake collapse" theory. Further laboratory testing, he reported, showed that the steel in the towers would not have sagged during extreme fires.
Barry Jennings, who was the Deputy Director of Emergency Services for the NYC Housing Authority, also participated in the documentary. The morning of the attacks, he was called to WTC Building 7 to coordinate response plans. The chronology he described indicated that an explosion took place in Bldg. 7 (destroying the lobby) before the other two towers had even collapsed. William Rodriguez, a janitor who risked his life to save people trapped inside the towers, described a loud explosion or noise that took place below them when they were already in the basement, and this occurred several seconds before the impact of a plane hitting the tower above them. "That is essentially a direct contradiction," Corbett said, "of what we were told took place that morning," and it has either been edited out or sidestepped from the official reports.